Dance & Locking Competitions To “Streetstyle”Locking Battles

The Challenge of the Term” Turn Out”


The “Streetstyle of the” Locking Battle”

page written by Skeeter Higgins

Webster’s learner’s dictionary defines the word battle as:

“A fight between people or groups in which each side engages the other while trying to win a contest (such as a game or an election) or to gain control of something (such as a company)”

A battle is a conflict between two opposing forces, which confronts and challenges each other in a show of skills, words or actions. The word battle is no a passive word but Now let’s add the word “Street style” To the term dance Battle and we all know that we are not talking about a ballet recital, although it can be used as, intensive but friendly competition.

Our history through Locking shows us that there is much confusion involved with the various types of Locking competitions, we have seen where dancers have entered “Streetstyle” LOCKING BATTLES”but do not include the elements of a street style battle when competing, What they usually do is come out turn and face the Audience , or face the Judges for the majority of the time and do some wonderful show style ,showcase or social Party style dancing & Locking, many times they do some great stuff and yes they are Locking, But The elements of the ‘STREET BATTLE” is missing… We believe that we as event promoters have the responsibility to emphasize what TYPE of competition and what the judging criteria for each type of competition will be…

So what are the elements of A Locking Battle? Are they different compared to the elements of a Social Party dance contest, or a showcase style dance contest. YOU BET THEY ARE

The elements of Challenging, Engagement & Confrontation are key elements in any Street style “BATTLE” including Locking. These elements however must also incorporate the fundamental ingredient of that dances’ art forms. And that means by displaying the art forms basic skills within the rhythm and beats of the music. In this Hardcore Street style locking battle the essence of the original street challenge exist where one challenges and the other answers with a response. Locking as well as all battles includes an element of showmanship, but that element is done within the context of the challenge. The same holds for creativity, Street dances are known for its innovative concepts and new creative innovations are not only welcome but encouraged but within the Battle Engagement concept,

The fundamental element of the Locking art form are the Locks, Points , handclaps, and established foot moves from the Art form of Campbellocking or Locking, creativity and innovations ARE ENCOURAGED and should be built from these initial elements. Splits and floor work are also part of the Locking element, however they are only judge’s compliment and not locking skills within themselves, they should be used to compliment

·Competitors will be judged on how well they respond or answer the challenges with creativity and Locking Skills

·Competitors will ONLY be judged on Showmanship, Floor moves & splits as a compliment to their LOCKING SKILLS within the battle format.



LOCKING IS A DANCE… so no matter how great your skills are, it must be done within the concept of DANCING!



this style is different from the confrontation style of the battle ,to a lead and follow ,couple style contest , which is judged on how well the couples can not only imrovised but lead and follow

TAP DANCE CHALLENGES (1940s)…PARTY DANCE Cut up’s (1960s)…LOCKING & PARTY Turn-Out’s (1970s) …..BBOY & STREET STYLE Battles (1980s to present)

The Tap Dance challenges of the 1940s was actually one of the first inspirations to the Locking competitions, which were called turn=outs or cutting someone up of the 1970s, also during the 70s group competition was also marled with individual performances also had individual competition when group members competed by attempting to take a page out of a crew members book during the solo sessions.. actually all of these were very similar to today’s battles as far as how dancers developed their reputations, These early tap dancers or hoofers as they were called dancers of the 1940s had unique tap styles, along with their colorful street names.(just as we have in Locking and other street culture)Once a street reputation was erred they were often challenged on street corners or in night clubs. Other dancers would DIRECTLY “Challenge them in an effort to build their own reputation, This practice was known as challenges or One UP man’s ship.

This is a comedic on the Cosby TV show rendition of how the street corner challenges would take place on the streets of the inner-city in the 30s 40’s & 50s , this shows street legends “Sand Man” Sims as he challenges Bill Cosby

Today street tap challenges are still being conducted

The History of Locking competitions, as well as all streetstyle dances show us that competiveness started in the social Party dances, Where one or any number of people would began to attempt to show up others on the dance floor with their dance moves , this is taken as a challenge by others who would respond to the challenge back in the day this was called trying to “turn someone out”, this was also done in locking back in the early 70s, and was actually done in other social dances and parties prior to that time.

CLASSIC Female vs Male Locking Battle 


This style is more of a lead follow, exchange style based on couples competition , this shows where a battler need to understand how to adjust to the competition

There has always been showcase or Talent style battles, where acts or performers take the stage and entertain an audience, at this style contest often the audience would judge by applause. Locking in general has elements taken from all of these influences in history. But each as a completion on their own has specific criteria…The competition in dance has always existed, and that includes within the Lockers ROOTS, the early social party style dance, developed and had within it all three elements of the Locking style including competition, which was called One upping or turning out within the party concept, when the performance was developed it again had the three elements , except this time the emphisis was on entertainment, but it still contained competition, both individually , within the solos , which was called taking a page out of someone book, or collectively as groups performed against each other in talent shows, only after these two phases did Locking follow the battle scene of The BBoy movement , & the Popping movement by initiating Head to Head street style battles, these took place in both impromptu meetings and planned events , but now the emphasis had change to engage and respond.. instead of party style turnouts , or performance style , showcase solos..

A International multi person showcases style Locking competition (Japan)


This competition is based on the solo performance of crew or group members during a stage performance


Notice this style contains many styles but primarily based on locking and synchronized crew steps. it is a confront and challenge street styles where both dancers and crews directly confront and challenge their opponents to respond, This hardcore street style can be done with crews , duos or most popular 1 on 1



Battles showcases, and talent shows has exited in the Afro American community for decades as Battles of the bands also was popular as one band sung or performed , with another band upping the challenge on stage ,in the funkadelics song “Lets take it to the stage ” they are challenging all groups who have a problem with their style & music ,to battle them on stage. above is the Apollo Motown battle of the bands.

Although competition has been part of party and street dance since their inception  to many in the locking era .competition was only one element of the dances purpose, the dance was not totally built on HEAD TO HEAD aggression, as todays battles suggest , But rather but as you see it done on Soul Train it was built on sharing, with the party celebration attitude, fostering unity and a brotherhood among the culture,

                                                                                                       Og SkeeterRabbit